In 1851, Propaganda Fide, the Vatican congregation that oversees the Church’s missionary work, asked Blessed Basil Moreau if Holy Cross would assume responsibility for the Church’s mission in East Bengal. Whereas other congregations had refused because of the region’s poverty and difficult climate, Moreau accepted. After the first group to set sail was forced to turn back in December 1852 due to a storm, a second group of priests, brothers, and sisters arrived to Calcutta on May 20, 1853. They made their way to Dhaka and Noakhali by June.
From the beginning, the work of Holy Cross in East Bengal was marked by crosses, including many deaths due to disease and natural disasters. The Congregation persevered, sending successive generations of missionaries from France and North America. This perseverance bore fruit in the establishment of the local Church and the evangelization of the tribal peoples.
Although Christians constitute a small minority (about 0.3%) in this predominantly Muslim country, the Congregation is well-known and respected especially with regard to the many educational institutions.
Notre Dame College in Dhaka, founded in 1949, is the premier institution of secondary education in the country. The excellence of the college’s education moved the government and Church in Bangladesh to petition Holy Cross to found a university in the country, and Notre Dame University Bangladesh held its first classes on December 7, 2014. The Congregation also administers over a dozen high schools and trade schools.
While educating some of the elite, the Congregation has a long history of educating and of advocating on behalf of the dignity and rights of the poor. In many ways, the work of Servant of God Br. Flavian Laplante, epitomizes the Congregation’s outreach. He organized the fishermen in the coastal area near Chittagong into cooperatives and built an orphanage and schools for them.
The work of the Congregation of Holy Cross continues to be carried out today by the Sacred Heart of Jesus Province of Priests and the St. Joseph Province of Brothers.
Holy Cross in Bangladesh Today
Finally Professed Brothers
Finally Professed Priests
Resources for Partnerships
Ministries in Dhaka
5 beds with air conditioning
20 beds without air conditioning
Notre Dame College, Dhaka
Toyenbee Circular Road, Haka 1000, Bangladesh
Notre Dame University, Bangladesh
2/A, Arambagh, Motijheel, Dhaka–1000, Dhaka 1000, Bangladesh
Rev. Patrick Gaffney, C.S.C., University Chancellor
St. Marianne Cope Project
This program provides financial resources and academic support to women who otherwise could not afford educational opportunities.
Sr. Bashona Rebeiro, C.S.C., Director
St. Joseph School of Industrial Trade
32 Shah Saheb Ln, Dhaka, Bangladesh
St. Gregory’s High School & College
82 Municipal Rd, Dhaka 1100, Bangladesh
Holy Cross Church – Luxmibazar
82 Municipal Rd, Dhaka 1100, Bangladesh
Bottomley Home Orphanage Trade School
APON (Ashokti Punorbashon Nibash) & ODIC (Outreach Drop-in Centre) for Children
428/1, 1216 Garden View Road, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Experience with Immersion Groups
Holy Cross priests and brothers in Bangladesh are organized as separate entities but each is eager to host international visitors and share the stories of hope taking place at their ministries. The priests administer the parishes and ministries associated with them in addition to Notre Dame University Bangladesh; the brothers administer the high schools and trade schools. Both groups regularly coordinate travel for small groups visiting Dhaka, which has extremely high congestion that arranged drivers are essential for visitors.
Nearby Universities for Potential Partnership
|Institution of Higher Education
|Rank in Bangladesh
|University of Dhaka
|Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology
|Southeast University, Bangladesh
|Daffodil International University
|Notre Dame University, Bangladesh (Holy Cross)
Health & Safety
Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations are required. Hepatitis B, Japanese Encephalitis, and Rab vaccinations are recommended. Visit the Center for Disease Control for up-to-date vaccine and medication recommendations for U.S. travelers to Bangladesh.
The Holy Cross leaders in Bangladesh regularly monitor and advise immersion groups on safety concerns in their ministry region.
For every region of the world, the U.S. Department of State maintains updated travel advisories for U.S. citizens to consider when traveling abroad.
U.S. Embassy in Dhaka
Baridhara, Dhaka, 1212
Telephone: +88 2 5566-2000
The following documents are needed for entry into Bangladesh:
- A passport that is valid for at least six months after the anticipated departure date. Two blank pages are required to receive an entry visa upon arrival.
- Tourist visa, which should be acquired 8 weeks prior to departure, if visiting for more than 15 days.
- Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations are required.
Visit the U.S. Department of State webpage on Bangladesh for more information.
Partner With Us
Join our global Mission.
To further explore partnership opportunities with the Holy Cross Mission Center and our ministry partners around the world, contact Assistant Director for Community Engagement Michael Jezewak at email@example.com or (574) 631 – 8884; or schedule a discovery call using the link below: